Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Ernesto Escobedo


In 1990, the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) was enacted to support disabled Americans as they sought to procure equality in society and the workplace. Despite these intentions, full implementation of the ADA has been fraught with court challenges and legislative amendments. As it currently stands, it is unclear as to how the judicial system is collectively interpreting a qualified disability. Using Clark and Connolly's interpretation of legal textualism as the theoretical foundation, the purpose of this case study of the Americans with Disabilities Act was to better understand and explore how the judiciary is currently interpreting qualified disability post-ADA amendments. Data for this study included court interpretations and post-ADA amendment cases among the 12 United States Circuit Courts. These data were coded through a multi-stage coding procedure that included evaluating coding, cycle coding, hand coding, and subcoding. Coded data were analyzed using a thematic analysis procedure. The key theme emerging from this study indicated that the ADA amendments still do not promote congressional intent in the judiciary. This study has implications for positive social change by informing Congress, legal practitioners, legal scholars, social scientists, and the disability community on the ways in which the judiciary is interpreting ADA amendments collectively among the 12 federal circuit courts.